Boro boss Aitor Karanka pronounced himself far from pleased with his side’s performance but admitted the three points could prove vital in their ongoing survival fight.
Karanka said: “Until we scored the first goal I was really upset (with the performance) but sometimes you have to understand the players and for them it was a game with a lot of pressure.
“It was really difficult at the beginning of the game but after the game it has been a massive win against a direct opponent. The main thing is to have the points on the table.
“There are some games we will win playing not as good as we would like to play, and some we will lose playing our best, because we are in the Premier League and every single point is difficult.”
Karanka dedicated his side’s win to goalkeeping coach Leo Percovich, who will require an operation next week after snapping his Achilles at the club’s training ground on Friday.
Karanka added: “Leo has been very important because you have seen him on the bench and he is a character in the changing room. The players know how big and important Leo is, and I know he will be at home cheering for us.”